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Silkmen survival hanging by a thread after heavy defeat at JSCS
at 19:28 17 Jan 2020

Colchester United play hosts to Macclesfield Town at the JSCS this weekend completing a trilogy of fixtures against the leagues bottom three sides. We are overdue a victory and I reckon it will come tomorrow in a 5-1 rout of the Silkmen.

Now forget all about the new management at Moss Rose - Mark Kennedy, the on and off field problems, the debts of £360K (£180K owed each to HMRC and Sol Campbell), the adjourned High Court winding up order until 26 March 2020 and the docking of 6 points following their failure to fulfil the Crewe Alexandra fixture; this is a game that Colchester have to win and win well.

There can be no more excuses, despite 12 games unbeaten (7 draws and 5 victories) it still leaves us short of the top three, which must be the aim this season. Automatic Promotion, after failure to reach the play offs in the previous seasons is what JM and his charges must aim for.

It has been an eventful week with Theo Robinson returning to the JSCS for the rest of the season.

In other news Sammie Szmodics has made the journey on loan from Bristol City to Peterborough for the rest of the season and today Brennan Dickenson has moved until the end of the season from MK Dons to Exeter.

JM is keen to bring in a full back but so far none has materialised. Our injuries continue to mount:

Cohen Bramall - ankle injury
Courtney Senior – groin injury
Paris Cowan-Hall – long term achilles injury
Omar Sowunmi – soft tissue injury

Ryan Jackson – one match ban after his red card at Morecambe

Now JM has hinted that he might change the line-up, but as Cameron James is not being recalled we effectively have no Centre Half cover and so three at the back is unlikely. It is more likely that he will play Tom Lapslie at Right Back with Eastman, Prosser and Clampin.

This of course leaves the midfield predicament. Can he at long last play Pell, Stevenson and Comley as a midfield triumvirate. I suspect sadly not because for some reason he currently ignores Comley (our most improved player of the season). Therefore, with only Pell and Stevenson in midfield he can play the following four up front.

Junior and Robinson with Poku and Nouble in support. But is he positive enough to do so? Junior needs to play as a number 9 and Robinson will support him. Big Frank wide on the wing and Kwame Poku as the number 10.

If JM is serious about scoring goals then give Junior the opportunity to shine and let him play the full 90 minutes.

Now JM likes Harriott and Gambin especially as we are missing Senior, but recently Gambin has been ineffective and Harriott, despite his talent, has been trying too many step overs and defenders have worked him out.

So, let us try the following tomorrow:

Gerken

Lapslie Eastman Prosser Clampin

Pell Stevenson

Poku Nouble

Junior Robinson

Subs:

Ross Kensdale Fernandes Comley Norris Hutchinson Harriott

This team has goals in it, and we need to score early and take the game to them from the outset. Not only will a handsome victory give us the confidence to tackle more exacting games, but also the three points will kick start our promotion push after four successive drawn games.

Table:

Top

Swindon 27 53
Exeter 26 50
Cheltenham 26 44
Crewe 25 44
Plymouth 25 44
Bradford 26 44
FGR 27 44
Northampton 26 42
COL U 26 41

Bottom:

Macclesfield 25 24
Morecambe 27 22
Stevenage 27 19

The weather in Colchester tomorrow will be sunny with a high of 7 degrees Celsius. More importantly it will be dry (after some recent heavy rain and strong winds).

The faithful were present at Stevenage in very good number (749) and 100 travelled to Morecambe so we can hope for close to 4,000 tomorrow to witness a home victory.

Enjoy the game.

Up the U’s


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Former U's legend returns to UK
at 23:50 16 Jan 2020

Lomano Tresor Lua Lua now 38 has returned to the UK after seven years in Turkey and has signed for non league Peterborough Sports.

I would have thought he could have done a job for the Super U's over the next 20 league games.

Everyone has their own amazing memories of this great former U's star and I wish him well.

UTU's
[Post edited 17 Jan 0:02]
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Two more points dropped at the Globe Arena!
at 22:43 12 Jan 2020

So, Colchester have extended their unbeaten run to 12 games and remain only 3 points from the automatic promotion places and with Macclesfield and Bradford to come as a home double header, what’s not to like.

Answer everything. The fact is that we are not convincing at present. Too many players are running on empty and the tactics, particularly against Stevenage and Morecambe are questionable.

More of this later. In the meantime, we played out a draw against bottom club Morecambe yesterday coming seven days after playing out a draw against the other bottom club Stevenage Borough. Ok it could be argued that last season we might have lost both games, but hold on we have already lost to both Stevenage and Morecambe at home this season. Hardly inspiring.

Now I would like to think of myself as a positive and glass half full sort of person, but recent performances are testing for even the most die hard supporters. There were boos again at the final whistle yesterday from some of the 100 faithful who made the 7-hour journey battling the elements and the M6 closure for the demolition of a footbridge between J32 – J33. I met some U’s supporters who had driven from Sheffield and of course Noah was present in the stand. I brought my youngest son the 61 miles from Durham. It is a scenic journey via Kirby Stephen, Tebay and then via J35 and through Carnforth (Brief Encounter!) and then hugging the coast and a drive along the promenade to Atkinson’s fish “n” chips which were very good as usual (haddock, chips bread and butter and a pot of tea for £8.60).

Parking is at the local Primary School for £5 (£1 of which goes to the School funds).

Collecting the tickets was considerably easier than last week (but of course we only had 100 present this week as opposed to 600 last week). The programme was also very good (not an e-version) and the Shrimps had prepared a double header with Port Vale visiting the Globe Arena on Tuesday night. So excellent value for £3.

Now I am beginning to think that JM overthinks these games. He mentioned pre match about the number of drawn games that we have played out with Morecambe. Prior to yesterday one win each and five draws, make that six draws now. Is this our problem, is he satisfied with a point even against the bottom club and does he instil this mantra into our players? Four successive draws tells its own story and this is why, despite the unbeaten run, why we have lost ground in the promotion battle.

Look at the next six fixtures:

Macclesfield H
Bradford H
Exeter A
Swindon H
Cambridge A
Plymouth H

If we serve up the same drab and uninspiring performances against those clubs then we will drop to mid-table. Fact.

Returning to yesterday, the pitch was certainly much better than I had anticipated at kick off and the temperature was hovering around the 8 degrees Celsius mark. For the first 33 minutes it was also dry.

JM had lined up his charges as follows:

Gerken

Jackson Eastman Prosser Clampin

Pell Stevenson

Harriott Poku Nouble

Norris

Subs

Ross Kensdale Fernandes Comley Lapslie Gambin Junior

Now I don’t know what Comley has done to upset the manager because he refuses to play him and therefore fails to play Pell, Stevenson and Comley together. The midfield dream team.

The faithful were in good voice. They have a new song about JM. Now I don’t know whether it is sung with sarcasm or genuine emotion.

“We’ve got super John McGreal, he knows exactly what we need. Prosser at the back, Norris at the front and Col U’s gonna win the f***ing league.”

Now we kicked against the strong win in the first half and as I mentioned the weather started dry. What I found incredibly frustrating was that we played the ball backwards sideways and passed back to Gerken perhaps 30 times in the first half.

This nonsense encouraged the Shrimps on. One of their four new signings Phillips tried his luck with a free kick which went over the bar. For our part Chuck Norris shot from an acute angle and another new Shrimper Jordan Slew fired over the bar before after 33 minutes the weather deteriorated. The floodlights picked out the heavy showers which started and blew into the Colchester player’s faces.

However almost immediately a disputed throw in was taken quickly and Ryan Clampin (who gets better every game) drove forward and crossed with purpose for Big Frank to score sharply on 35 minutes.

The weather continued to deteriorate, and the wind seemed to grow in intensity whilst the waves of rain continued to cover the pitch. Half time came at the right time with the U’s a goal to the good. My son tried one of their chicken and leek pies (hand made by the Shrimpers chef at the stadium), whilst I had a hot chocolate which was wet and warm!

Second half and we now had the wind and rain at our backs, and we were attacking the end where the faithful were sitting in the stand. Unfortunately, the players must have experienced one of JM’s inspirational team talks because they decided to defend what they had.

Result Morecambe grew in confidence and seemed to react better to the conditions. Dean Gerken had to save smartly from Mendes-Gomes and the lively Slew.

When Poku could move forward he was effective and was very unlucky when he surged forward and struck a shot which the keeper saved and touched onto the far post. We should have been 2-0 up at this stage.

Then of course on 69 minutes came the equaliser – O’ Sullivan crossed, and new boy Phillips deftly headed past Gerken to square the match.

Frustration amongst the faithful boiled over (including from yours truly) and we called for JM to change it up.

Instead of bringing Junior on JM simply replaced Harriott with Gambin on 72 minutes. This was not the move to make and then on 82 minutes the lively and hardworking Poku was replaced by Junior. However Norris should have been replaced and Junior should have played from the start.

Worse still Ryan Jackson received a second yellow for a challenge on the edge of the box and this only encouraged Morecambe on and on. The substitute Gambin was then subbed in turn to allow makeshift right back Tom Lapslie to enter the fray on 85 minutes. In fairness to JM his options were limited at this stage.

Colchester could still have won the game and Big Frank was unlucky with a late effort. Additional time passed and the U’s dropped another two points.

Now before the game I stated that Junior should have played from the start and JM gave him only 8 minutes. Worse though he was asked to play on the right wing rather than up front and so his pace was negated.

Before he was sent off Jackson had failed to make those lung busting runs that we have become accustomed to. I suspect that he is not fully fit. Well he now sits out the Macclesfield game.

Paris Cowan-Hall is supposedly fit bit didn’t make the bench, just what is going on.

JM must sacrifice the favouritism and play his most effective team. That means Pell, Stevenson and Comley in midfield and Poku and Junior up front. Drop Norris and play Big Frank.

Therefore, against Macclesfield JM should try the following:

Gerken

Cowan-Hall Eastman Prosser Clampin

Pell Stevenson Comley

Poku Junior Nouble

And attack them!!!!!!!!

The journey home was uneventful and there was plenty of time to reflect on the performance which resulted in two more points being dropped.

The table:

Swindon 27 53
Exeter 26 50
Cheltenham 26 44
Crewe 25 44
Plymouth 25 44
Bradford 26 44
FGR 27 44
Northampton 26 42
COL U 26 41

The week ahead is changeable weather wise and so we must maximise the two home games to cement our position in the top seven.

Will we dip our toes into the transfer market to bring in another striker and if so who exactly?

Up the U’s

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Shrimps to be potted by the Super U's at the Globe Arena
at 15:21 10 Jan 2020

After the failure to beat ten-man Stevenage last Saturday, JM takes his charges to the Globe Arena for a vital League Two encounter this Saturday. The support was superb last week with the faithful effectively the 12th man and willing the ball into the net, but alas it wasn’t to be.

This week we play the Shrimps who have already won at the JSCS this season and so we not only owe them big time, but also need to get back onto the winning trail after three successive draws.

The fall out from the Jevani Brown saga shows no signs of abating. JM reckons that he is still an asset for the club and then immediately says we are seeking a replacement. Especially as the Theo Robinson issue has been mishandled. Its almost as if he or Tony Humes has been seeking guidance from Ed Woodward who is also making a spectacular hash of failing to bring in new replacements at Old Trafford.

Robinson has gone back to Southend and we have no replacement. But actually, we do. Junior now has game time, fitness and an eye for goal. What we do need however is a Number 10. JM says that the reason that Jevani Brown was not given more outings was the fact that Kwame Poku has done so well. But we knew that when he was signed at the beginning of the season. He has loads of potential and is showing that in spades.

Whereas Brown was not given a fair crack of the whip although he lost lots of brownie points (no pun intended) against Spurs with that infamous Panenka penalty.

So, JM is seeking a new number 9 (well good luck with that). I suggested several old stagers who would be suitable the other day, but it is unlikely that the club would go for any of those.

Anyway, happier matters. Harry Pell has deservedly won the PFA fans POTM for his recent performances.

Derek Adams has brought in four new players at Morecambe including Jordan Slew, Adam Phillips, Ryan Cooney and Toumani Diagouragon. Well I’m sorry but we must not only see them off tomorrow but also score a few goals. We were not clinical enough last week, and several players hadn’t brought their shooting boots.

The table remains tight:

Swindon 26 50
Exeter 25 47
Crewe 24 44
Bradford 25 44
Cheltenham 25 41
Plymouth 24 41
FGR 26 41
COL U 25 40

Swindon will be smarting this week. Eoin Doyle was recalled from his loan by Bradford. Having scored 23 goals in 22 matches, the Bantams will be hoping that he can replicate that form at Valley Parade to fire them to League One. It may not of course!

Paris Cowan-Hall is likely to be back in the squad for tomorrow. Courtney Senior is still not fit, and neither is Cohen Bramall. I was disappointed with both Harriott and Gambin last week and feel both need a rest. Gambin was ill at ease on the surface and probably not 100% after the red card challenge from Soares. Harriott tried too many step overs and both were reluctant to shoot when well placed.

Therefore, JM may go with the following tomorrow:

Gerken

Jackson Eastman Prosser Clampin

Comley Pell Stevenson

Nouble Poku

Junior

Subs:

Ross Lapslie Kensdale Cowan-Hall Harriott Norris James

A word of caution for the travelling faithful. The M6 will be closed this weekend northbound between J32 and J33.

The weather is likely to be mild and wet with 10 degrees Celsius and mainly cloudy. With another heavy pitch give Gambin a rest altogether and use Harriott only as a sub at best.

Safe journey to the travelling faithful.

For those with extra time to spare, Atkinsons in Albert Road Morecambe serve excellent fish n chips and although the weather may be against it, the views (if the tide is in) from the front are worthy of consideration.

Enjoy the game. Prediction 4-0 to the Super U’s

UTU’s


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Two more points dropped at the Lamex
at 16:03 6 Jan 2020

Saturday saw me and my eldest son journey the 218 miles to Stevenage – down the A1 and A1(M). A decent journey in about 3.5 hours. This was my first visit to the Lamex stadium. The first thing to note is that it is easy to find, just off the A1(M) and right next to Roaring Meg (a Retail Park).

We arrived in sufficient time to enjoy lunch before walking to the Ground from the free car park which, after the rain earlier in the week, resembled a demilitarised zone in places. Still no problem finding the ground, but then a queue to get in because there were only four turnstiles open and although 400 tickets had already been sold in advance there must have been another 200 queuing to get in.

Update: officially 749 Col U faithful in the stadium. Brilliant

Once inside there was a single food and beverage outlet with a single queue of about 50 people. Given that Stevenage knew how many people would roughly be there in the Away end the queue was ridiculous. The tea was also lukewarm and not particularly appetising.

The Colchester faithful were all housed in the seating behind the goal at the South End of the Ground. The hardcore Stevenage supporters stood in the East Terrace and that left the North and West Stands for the remainder of the 3,027 attendees.

Also, in the corner of the East Terrace was the Sky TV crew and Bianca Westwood, that doyen of Saturday afternoon. The faithful gave her and Sky a raucous and ribald welcome.

Now perhaps I’m feeling a little liverish at present, but the inability to purchase a programme left me feeling underwhelmed. I know that programmes are not everyone’s cup of tea, but I am old fashioned enough to enjoy reading the pearls of wisdom and particularly the information about Colchester. I have skimmed through the e-version online, but there is no paper copy just copious adverts. Very disappointing.

The pitch looked heavy and had cut up in places. I reckon that although it was dry and 9 degrees Celsius Stevenage had experienced a lot of rain recently. The faithful were buoyed by the sight of Junior warming up with the squad or perhaps it was the aircraft taking off from Luton Airport at regular intervals.

I am not going to rehearse the arguments about the Jevani Brown transfer to FGR suffice to say, I say it is total madness.

JM lined up his team as follows:

Gerken

Jackson Eastman Prosser Clampin

Pell Stevenson

Gambin Nouble Harriott

Norris

Subs:

Ross Lapslie Comley Kensdale Poku Robinson Junior

There was much expectation about todays game. I had predicted a 3-0 victory and the faithful were in very good voice, buoyed by their drum and accompanying entourage.

The Stewards were visible but low key and kept well out of the stands which is how it should be unless there are problems. Tick in the box for Stevenage stewards.

Now the stats will tell you that we had 24 shots of which 10 were on target. It could have been a different story, however. Jackson cleared from almost his own goal line after two minutes and on 13 minutes Parrett had the freedom of the U’s penalty area and contrived to miss.

Harry Pell then missed a simple header at the other end. After 19 minutes the worst possible thing happened. Tom Soares (yes that one) committed a two footed challenge on Luke Gambin and the referee who was well placed produced (rightly) a red card. Two footed challenges must be outlawed. It was dangerous and late.

Westley who has just started his fourth spell at the Lamex criticised the referee later but there was no argument. He was guilty and took an early bath. But here’s the thing. Colchester have never done any good when playing against ten men. We normally lose or draw.

In truth we were profligate in possession and too casual in the first half. Gambin whether the challenge had unsettled him was simple appalling until he was replaced in the 64th minute.

Norris missed a sitter at the other end and Stevenage in attempting a clearance headed the ball onto the cross bar and over. It was turgid stuff.

Deadlock at half time and I couldn’t be bothered to queue for the luke warm tea. The temperature was dropping as the sun disappeared from sight. No changes at half time from our illustrious leader.

The faithful were baying for blood and with Colchester now kicking towards our serried ranks of supporters surely the ten men would not be able to hold out. Norris started the half where he had left off by narrowly missing a chance and he thumped the ground in frustration.

Now I reckon that we had been far too pedestrian in the first half and both Pell (who was spraying passes left and right) and Stevenson injected some more urgency. Gambin was having a shocker. Reluctant to shoot from distance he was outfought and outtackled regularly. JM eventually replaced him with the industrious Poku who changed things significantly. Immediately more pace and creativity was injected.

Harriott was content to show his array of tricks but on a cloying surface few came off. By contrast Clampin had an excellent game and was instrumental in much of the work down the left-hand side. As the half wore on Stevenage became more and more defensive and maintained ten men behind the ball at all times.

Chuck was taken off to have a fix of red meat on 70 minutes and Robinson took his place. The waves of attacks continued with more intent but still the Stevenage wall could not be breached. Farman in goal was excellent (apart from the timewasting) and was equal to whatever we through his way.

Nouble and Stevenson were both just wide with efforts and so the pattern continued.

Gerry was running a sweep for the minute that Junior would be introduced. I said 86 minutes. And he came on for Harriott on 85 minutes. Now immediately he looked bright and enthused and Harry Pell floated a ball to him which he headed downwards, and Farman claimed on the line.

After the save Stevenage had a defender down clutching his head and after some minutes, he was unable to continue and left the field of play. So, Stevenage with four minutes to play were down to nine men.

I suspect that we could have played another 20 minutes and not scored but the referee managed to find only four additional minutes. There were some boos at the final whistle, but they didn’t amount to much. Tremendous frustration at another two points dropped.

Fact, we lost ground after another draw:

Swindon 26 50
Exeter 25 47
Crewe 24 44
Bradford 25 44
Cheltenham 25 41
Plymouth 24 41
FGR 26 41
COL U 25 40

My man of the match would be Clampin who was outstanding.
Kwame Poku was brilliant when he came on and Tom Eastman was steady as always.

Gambin and Harriott should be rested this week.

The Globe Arena beckons on Saturday and the chance for three vital points. If we are indeed serious about promotion then nothing but the maximum in Morecambe is required.

Up the U’s


[Post edited 17 Jan 9:35]
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Super U's to secure the points at the Lamex Stadium
at 19:39 3 Jan 2020

Stevenage Away on Saturday at the Lamex Stadium with Graham Westley in charge for the fourth time.

But this is overshadowed by two rumours with one gaining currency all the time. Jevani Brown has apparently signed on loan for Forest Green Rovers and Kurtis Guthrie is due to sign on loan for Bristol Rovers from Stevenage Borough. Guthrie, if the rumour is true, will not be missed against us tomorrow. He usually is the thorn in our side and ever since his acrimonious departure from the then Weston Homes has normally scored against us.

But I am incandescent with rage at the news (broken by Wessex) that Jevani Brown whom we paid £315K for from Cambridge United will be allowed to sign for one of our direct rivals in the League Two promotion race. Whether the loan agreement prevents him from playing against us the damage will have been done because FGR are a direct rival and you can guarantee that he will suddenly appear to play like the starlet that he was supposed to be when we signed him. Mark Cooper must be laughing all the way to League One!!!

Loan players by all means, but not to direct rivals. That must be the golden rule. Rant over.

Brown’s departure is all the stranger when we have a litany of injuries:

Bramall - ankle
Sowunmi – ribs
Senior – groin
Cowan-Hall -achilles
Clampin unknown

Is Junior the new Bonne – will he be loaned out or can he play up front for these vital games or will he languish in the reserves.

There appears to be no suggestion that Colchester are entering the loan market and so to offer one of our so-called stars on loan shows poor judgement at best.

JM must look carefully at his squad to determine the best formation and starting XI at a ground where frankly only three points will be good enough.

Gerken

Jackson Eastman Prosser James

Pell Stevenson

Harriott Gambin Nouble

Robinson

Subs:
Norris Comley Kensdale Ross Fernandes Poku Junior

Stevenage weather will be 7 degrees Celsius and dry with plenty of sunshine. Ideal for January football.

I have decided to travel down the A1(M) the 217 miles for the game and have persuaded my eldest son to accompany me. Colchester are likely to have 500 supporters so the atmosphere should be a good one.

Safe journey to the travelling faithful.

A reminder about the top seven in the table

Swindon 25 49
Exeter 25 47
Crewe 24 44
Bradford 24 43
FGR 25 40
COL U 24 39
Northampton 24 38

Given the imminent transfer of Jevani Brown note the position of FGR!!!!!

Enjoy the game.

Up the U’s

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Red Devils to be roasted at the JSCS by Super U's
at 10:14 1 Jan 2020

The strangest thing about writing this preview was identifying the date – 1 January 2020. It really doesn’t seem that long since we were ushering in the Millennium. 2020 heralds a new Decade and I hope that all boarders will enjoy a good and positive year ahead.

I also hope that Colchester can achieve that elusive promotion to League One.

With that aim in mind we entertain Crawley – the red Devils at the JSCS this afternoon. Now led by John Yems they have had a decent Christmas period with only one defeat in five games since assuming control.

I expect the Super U’s to see them off though 3-0 today.

The only fly in the ointment is the inordinate amount of injuries that we have sustained recently.

Cohen Bramall – ankle injury
Courtney Senior - injury then worsened in the warm up the other day with a groin tweak
Luke Prosser – knee injury
Paris Cowan-Hall – achilles injury
Omar Sowunmi – unknown but hopefully not serious
Tom Lapslie – Red card so banned today

The table remains tight:

Swindon 24 46
Exeter 24 44
Crewe 23 41
Bradford 23 40
FGR 24 40
COL U 23 38
Plymouth 22 38
Cheltenham 23 37
Northampton 24 36

We will also have to match at the very least our points tally from the first half of the season to be in the play off mix and better it by at least 6 points to garner at least 82 points for an automatic promotion spot.

Tough times indeed we are 9 games unbeaten though and no disrespect to Crawley, but we must see them off today.

The weather here in Durham is bright after a frosty start, Colchester weather is 5 degrees Celsius cloudy but dry. The pitch which has been difficult should be improving for this afternoon.

JM has more limited options for a first XI today, but the advantage of a large squad is strength in depth. It seems likely that Theo Robinson will have his loan extended and although the various sites are coy about it JM has the cash to strengthen things if necessary.

Two changes are likely at the back with Clampin and Kensdale likely to come in for the injured Bramall and Sowunmi (and Prosser) who were both injured against Exeter.

Gerken

Jackson Kensdale Eastman Clampin

Pell Stevenson Comley

Gambin Robinson Harriott

Subs:

Ross Fernandes Norris Poku Nouble Hasanally Brown

IMHO Jevani Brown must be at least on the bench today and could we have some progress update on Junior who is becoming Bonne mark two.

A decent crowd will be expected today with the chance to close in on the top three.

Enjoy the game.

Up the U’s


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Grecians to have a hair-raising experience on Super Sunday at the JSCS
at 22:35 28 Dec 2019

After a superb and well-deserved victory at Orient on Boxing Day JM and his charges entertain the Grecians on a Sunday at the JSCS.

This is a big and important game with the opportunity for Colchester to move into the automatic promotion places.

Table after Boxing day:

Swindon 23 46
Exeter 23 43
Crewe 22 38
COL U 22 37
Bradford 22 37
FGR 23 37
Cheltenham 22 36
Plymouth 21 35

Make no mistake tomorrow is huge with Exeter going to provide a strong challenge for the Super U’s. Matt Taylor has led his team to only one defeat in the last 12 games. Whilst Colchester are now 8 games unbeaten. Two form teams therefore going head to head and I am predicting a United victory by 3-1.

JM is beginning to accept that he can use his squad to good effect, and they are responding well with some good football and some splendid possession and some super goals.

The back four have been consistent this season and is one of the reasons why we have only conceded 20 goals. That is why it was pleasing to see Omar Sowunmi slot in so well at Brisbane Road. In pre-season I watched the team against the Cefn Druids, and he looked head and shoulders (literally) above the other players. Notwithstanding the opposition he looked sharp and assured and it seems that the pairing of Eastman and Prosser has been outstanding, hence his limited opportunities. He also played well against Macclesfield at Moss Rose recently.

Ryan Jackson and Cohen Bramall (note to Cardiff keep your hands off our defender) have been the other two important links at the back and the back four has been solid as a result. Luke Prosser should therefore not play if he is not fully fit tomorrow.

In midfield JM refuses to play his best three players in Pell, Stevenson and Comley. I know why, he wants his wingers but against a team like Exeter, we can still take the game to them, but I would love to see those three as the midfield dream team. They offer strength, composure, ability and dynamism in equal measure.

There is still room for Poku and Harriott and then a single out and out striker in Robinson or Norris or Big Frank.

Gambin can warm the bench and still influence the game later on. Will Courtney Senior play or will he occupy a bench position.

Let us try the following in a 4,3,2,1 formation:

Gerken

Jackson Eastman Sowunmi Bramall

Pell Stevenson Comley

Poku Harriott

Robinson

Subs:

Ross Lapslie Senior Norris Brown Nouble Gambin

Jevani (Panenka) Brown must surely be given some game time eventually and what about the forgotten man Junior who seems destined to become another Macca Bonne. I do hope not because he may be needed towards the end of the season!

Colchester weather at match time is likely to be 6 degrees Celsius, mostly sunny and certainly dry.

I know that it is a Sunday but there is no reason why we can’t see a 5,000 gate for this important game.

40 points at the half way point will set us up nicely for the second half of the season and the prospect of League One football next season. There is plenty still to do but three points against the Grecians will give a huge boost prior to Crawley’s visit on New Year’s Day and the vital game at Stevenage next Saturday.

Safe journey to all travelling to the game. Enjoy the match and cheer on the Super U’s to three more important points.

Up the U’s

A very Happy New Year to all boarders.

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Super U's to find lots of Eastern promise at Brisbane Road
at 19:35 25 Dec 2019

JM takes his charges the short journey to Brisbane Road, home of Leyton Orient FC, for an intriguing Boxing Day encounter at 1pm. Ross Embleton is the manager and I was at the JSCS for the home match earlier in the season when we deservedly won 2-1 as the warm up for the Spurs game.

After ringing the changes following the midweek Manchester United game last weekend and ending up with a handsome 3-0 victory over the Cumbrians; the Super U’s are now unbeaten in 7 league games.

JM was adventurous in his selection mainly due to some last-minute injuries and enforced changes, but he stuck with Harry Pell who I thought was poor against the Red Devils, but then played much better against Carlisle. JM still seems reluctant to play the dream midfield of Comley, Stevenson and Pell (who sound like a firm of upmarket solicitors) but with injuries this may have to wait another week.

Gerken, Senior, Cowan-Hall and Norris are all injured and Nouble was “running on empty” whilst Brandon Comley was rested against the Cumbrians. Luke Prosser was also injured on Saturday and may miss the Orient game. That would leave Omar Sowunmi to deputise. Junior has become the new Macca Bonne and after returning from Ireland has become the forgotten man. As it is the season of Goodwill to All Men, let us give Jevani (Panenka) Brown an opportunity to stretch his legs for some game time. After all it is a while since he paid the penalty for the Spurs shoot out!

The table remains tight at the top:

Swindon 22 43
Exeter 22 40
Crewe 21 38
Cheltenham 21 36
Bradford 21 36
FGR 22 36
Northampton 22 35
Col U 21 34
Plymouth 20 32

Victory in East London would temporarily put the U’s fourth in the table (for a couple of hours) and so we must push for the three points. Weather in London is set for 8 degrees Celsius and rain showers with occasional sunny intervals.

But what team and formation does JM field:

Suggest 4,3,2,1

Ross

Jackson Eastman Sowunmi Bramall

Pell Stevenson Gambin

Poku Harriott

Robinson

Subs:

Coulter Lapslie Nouble Clampin Fernandes Comley Brown

Approaching the half way point in the league we have eminently winnable games coming up after Orient A, there is Exeter H, Crawley H, Stevenage A, Morecambe A, Macclesfield H, Bradford H and then the reverse fixture against the Grecians.

JM will have to use his squad and rotate some of the players. I would like to see Junior and Brown both given game time.

There has been little to suggest numbers travelling to London, we normally take about 700 to Orient but hopefully more to witness some Eastern promise on Boxing Day.

Safe journey to the travelling faithful. I am mulling over driving down for the Stevenage game but will check weather and traffic conditions closer to the day.

Enjoy the festive season and take it easy on the roads.

Scoreline 4-1 to the Super U’s.

Up the U’s



PS I am embarrassed to admit that I bought a half and half scarf against the Red Devils and will sport it at my next game. My sons were shocked but I had a moment of madness and there you go!!!!
[Post edited 26 Dec 2019 11:06]
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Fruitless journey for the Cumbrians at the JSCS
at 23:34 20 Dec 2019

Christmas present duties this weekend in the Midlands so will keep this brief.

After the excitement of the occasion at OT and plenty of column inches in the national press it is back to arguably the most important prize automatic promotion to league one.

Carlisle another team in form and led by Chris Beech make the journey to Colchester on Saturday.

JM must decide whether to make any changes from the heroic XI who played at OT.

I would select

Gerken

Jackson Eastman Prosser Bramall

Lapslie Stevenson Comley

Harriott Norris Nouble

Subs
Ross Sowunmi Clampin Brown Pell Poku Gambin

Harry Pell has to sort himself out and JM must decide whether Junior is to be utilised.

The physical demands on the players at OT were great and so we must guard against any hangover from the match.

It would be great to see 5,000 at home tomorrow but realistically 3,500 would be good.

Three points is a must with eminently winnable games over Christmas and New Year.

Enjoy the game.

A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to fellow boarders.

Up the U's

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